Titans crowned champions
Titans coach Matthew Maynard said even if his players had not won the championship trophy, they deserved to celebrate after the way they out-classed the Dolphins in the final-round match of the SuperSport Series over the weekend.
The Titans were crowned 2011/2012 SuperSport Series champions on Sunday morning after it was confirmed that their closest rivals, the Cape Cobras, could not catch them on the points table.
The Titans crushed the Dolphins with almost two days to spare, by an innings and 325 runs -- the largest victory margin in South African domestic cricket since the advent of franchise cricket.
The champagne was kept on ice as the Pretoria boys had to sit back for 24 hours and wait for the Cobras to complete their first innings against the Lions on Sunday before the celebrations could begin.
"Our celebrations were hampered from a management point of view, as we had to wait for the final confirmation, but the boys were already celebrating and deservedly so."
Maynard said he did not give his team specific instructions on how to go about their innings but they knew they had to outscore the Cobras (playing against the Lions) by 35 runs in their first innings to get ahead of them on the log table.
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"I believe in putting the ownership onto the players and giving them licence to play as freely as they can," he said.
"The way Heino Kuhn (128) and the skipper [Martin van Jaarsveld] (50) started, they sent out a strong message of their intentions.
"They were awesome -- and then with Faf's [du Plessis] 157 and Henry Davids's quick 73 -- they were all magnificent."
As it happened, the Cobras opted to field first in their rain-affected match at the Wanderers and only earned two bowling points and Maynard admitted it took the pressure off the Titans.
"We had one eye on the Cobras game and once we knew they'd only picked up two bowling points, it made it a bit easier for us," he admitted.
"But it was the quality of our decision-making which pleased me so much as a coach.
"Our boys blocked the good balls but as soon as anything was off-line they went for it.
"The whole way they went about their innings echoed the way I believe cricket should be played.
"They were disciplined with the bat and the ball and hats off to them."
The Titans last won the trophy in 2008/09 and it is their third success in four-day cricket since the start of the franchise system.
The Cobras' match against the Lions petered out to a draw despite a career best 167 from Yaseen Vallie, who was named man of the match.
In Port Elizabeth, the Knights clinched third place in the competition after beating the Warriors by 161 runs, thanks to a six-wicket haul (6-45) from seam bowler Quinton Friend.
A century from Morne van Wyk (155) earned the Knights' captain the man of the match award.
The match saw Boeta Dippenaar bow out of first-class cricket and, although he failed with the bat this time, he took three more catches to add to his tally and holds the record of 113 for the most catches in franchise cricket.